Singapore, 16 June 2008 – Is the wallet you are carrying in your back pocket or handbag today getting too bulky? Soon, your mobile phone will be able to offer more functions than just a phone. It can be your wallet – holding your transit card, credit card, loyalty card, movie ticket and more.
StarHub, Singapore's second largest info-communications provider, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NTT DOCOMO, INC., Japan's leading mobile communications provider, to explore a mobile wallet concept similar to Japan's renowned Osaifu-KeitaiTM wallet solution for a near future implementation in Singapore. Singapore is the first market outside of Japan to commence an official study and eventual pilot of this service.
Osaifu-KeitaiTM means mobile wallet in Japanese. It is a trademark of NTT DOCOMO, INC., which launched this service in July 2004, whereby the mobile phone is integrated with a contactless chip to offer mobile payment and transaction services. These include electronic money, identity card, fare card for bus and train rides, credit card and loyalty card. This mobile wallet application is also supported by other mobile service providers and accepted at more than 640,000 stores, making it the de facto standard for mobile wallet service in Japan.
StarHub has been actively following the trends and developments in mobile wallet, with the view of enhancing its current mobile offerings to customers. The mobile wallet can provide more convenient services to the user than physical smart cards. For example, it can automatically provide the latest information such as loyalty points. It can also be used as a ticket for an event such as a movie or concert, by downloading an electronic ticket. The user can choose to install multiple applications, each equivalent to a different card, and carry with him at all times in a mobile phone.
"StarHub has been in the forefront in the development of contactless services and applications in Singapore . Together with EZ-Link, we have recently completed the largest user trial of Near Field Communications (NFC) that has involved 1,000 participants to tap and pay for public transport, check balance enquiry and download information from smart posters." said Ms Chua Siew Ling, StarHub's Head of Payment and Transaction Services. "We are delighted to be the first mobile operator outside Japan to test and pilot the Osaifu-KeitaiTM service in the near future in our market. We believe that this will help us to rapidly develop a premium infrastructure for contactless services and applications in Singapore and create a mobile wallet offering that will appeal to our customers.”
"Osaifu-KeitaiTM is a powerful end-to-end system that has revolutionised mobile payment and commerce in Japan. It enhances customers' lifestyle by combining the functions of different types of smart card services in the mobile phone and bringing it to the users’ fingertips," said Mr Takeshi Natsuno, NTT DOCOMO, INC.’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Multimedia Services Department, Products & Services Division. "Singapore has the right pieces in place to enable the mobile wallet feature – factors such as high mobile penetration rate, the presence of a powerful contactless payment infrastructure as well as savvy consumers. We are confident that this strategic collaboration will bring multiple synergies for both companies as well as accelerate the adoption of contactless services and applications in mobile markets globally.”
Currently, StarHub is in talks with EZ-Link to explore the integration of the ez-link purse in the mobile wallet service. The ez-link purse is a contactless smart chip with a pre-paid function that is able to transact quick, secure and exact payments at over 20,000 readers and terminals on Singapore’s MRT, LRT, public buses and at retail locations such as McDonalds Restaurants and 7-Eleven stores across the nation.
"I am pleased to learn about StarHub’s plan to develop a mobile phone wallet service. Following the positive feedback from the users of our recent joint NFC public trial, we are even more confident that Singaporeans would demand and expect more out of their mobile phones. As the trial results have shown, the most used payment function was the use of ez-link purse to make payments for public transport. We look forward to working closely with StarHub on its pilot test of mobile wallet," said Mr Nicholas Lee, Senior Vice President Business and Technology, EZ-Link.
Added Ms Chua, "StarHub is constantly looking to harness new technologies and develop innovative solutions that offer value and convenience to our customers. The mobile wallet initiative is in line with our continuing focus on simplifying our customers' lives through innovative services and applications.”
Osaifu-Keitai" is a registered trademark of NTT DOCOMO, INC. in Japan.